In order to mark the 30th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s death on August 6, L’Osservatore Romano is publishing an article describing the true personality of the Pontiff, debunking myths about his supposed sadness and uncertainty portrayed in some media.
Written by Maurizio Fontana, the article cites statements by the president of the Paul VI Institute, Giuseppe Camadini, who explained that it is “true that it was not easy to read and accurately portray the personality of Montini (Paul VI)—which was characterized by an intense, strong and elevated spirituality jealously guarded by him and managed by his unmistakable style of gentleness.”
Camadini went on to note that “perhaps the press at that time did not take into account that Paul VI took the Second Vatican Council ‘by the hand’ after its first session, bringing it to a positive conclusion and promulgating all of the approved documents, dedicating personal attention and precise interventions to the final approval.”
He also pointed out that Paul IV was the first Pontiff “who desired to follow the steps of Christ in the Holy Land and who visited all of the continents for the first time. He is also the Pope of Ecclesiam Suam, Populorum Progressio, Octogesima Adveniens, Evangelii Nuntiandi, just to name a few of his documents.”
In debunking the myth about his supposed sadness, Camadini underscored that Paul VI is “the only Pope to promulgate an apostolic exhortation on joy: Gaudete in Domino, 1975.” Regarding the Pope’s “uncertainty,” he pointed to the Pontiff’s determination to publish the encyclical Humanae Vitae, which was published forty years ago, and which showed his humble and constant submission to the will of the Lord” and his “uninterrupted witness of faith and love for the Church,” Flores said.
Witness to Christ
The director of the L’Osservatore Romano, Giovanni Maria Vian, also dedicated his latest editorial to Paul VI, noting that on the night of the Feast of the Transfiguration 30 years ago, “August 6, 1978, in Castel Gandolfo, the 81 years of Paul VI quietly ended.”
“Despite tenacious opposition and grave dissent in the Church, despite the merciless attacks and criticisms (multiplied above all after the Credo of the People of God and after Humanae Vitae), Paul VI never renounced the authentic magisterium, and in reflecting on his pontificate, he declared he had put everything ‘at the service and defense of the truth,’ and therefore he was always willing to defend human life,” Vian underscored.
Vian also noted that Pope Montini acted “out of love of God and love of man, because, as he himself wrote: ‘perhaps our life has no clearer characteristic than the definition of love for our times, for our world, for so many souls we have been able to draw close and will draw close: but in the loyalty and conviction that Christ is necessary and true.”